What are the Different Marijuana Plant Stages?

Patience is one of the most important things you need to have in cultivating cannabis. The whole process takes time because the plants undergo different marijuana plant stages. Please read on to understand what these stages are and how to give proper care to your plants as they go through these phases. 

The 4 Key Marijuana Plant Stages

Stage 1: Germination Stage

The germination stage lasts from 24 hours to 2 weeks of life. In this stage, you don’t have any idea yet about the sex of your future cannabis plants. Take note that cannabis plants can be male or female or even hermaphrodites. Like seeds, the developing plants will grow as either male or female. 

Female cannabis plants are more important over males when it comes to yield. Female plants produce buds while male plants produce pollen, so they are necessary only when breeding cannabis. Likewise, only the female plants produce trichomes or the frosty white crystals that cover the flowers. 

Male plants do not play any role in bud production. Besides, they may even cause contamination and damage to your crops if you choose to keep them. You can continue growing these plants but in a distant location from the female plants to avoid unwanted pollination. 

Regular cannabis seeds can grow into male or female plants. That’s why cannabis growers often choose feminized seeds that are widely available in the local dispensaries and online seed banks. Feminized seeds will grow into female cannabis plants. 

Germination should occur before you can plant the seeds. Every feminized seed contains a plant that is just waiting to come out. The process requires proper care of the seeds to encourage them to sprout. They need water and heat to germinate. Here are some ways to encourage your cannabis seeds to sprout:

  • Soak 4 pieces of paper towels in a bowl with water and put 2 of them on the ceramic plate. Get the cannabis seeds and lay them down on the plate with paper towels. Make sure to give some space for each seed. 
  • Get the other 2 sheets of paper towels and put them on another ceramic plate. Put the other plate on top of the plate where you put the seeds. 
  • Check the room temperature, and be it stays between 70 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure the paper towels stay wet. 
  • Constantly check the cannabis seeds. In the end, you should see the white taproots coming out of the seeds. It will occur between 24 hours to 7 days. Be patient. 
  • Finally, transfer the sprouted seeds to your preferred growing medium. It can be a hydroponic system or soil. If you’re a novice, choose soil in cultivating the seeds. 

Handle the sprouted cannabis seeds with extra caution. Don’t try to touch the taproots because they are extremely weak and fragile. You can plant these seeds in pots with a 2-inch layer of soil. 

Stage 2: Seedling Stage

The cannabis seeds will grow and develop faster as soon as they germinated. The young cannabis plants will quickly emerge and develop the common physical features of a mature plant. Their life begins with having a pair of leaves that will open outward from their stem. These leaves will be in charge of catching the sunlight for energy.

From that point, the real cannabis leaves will start to grow on the upper part of the plants. This time, your plants entered the 1st growth cycle. Young cannabis plants will also develop their roots during the seedling stage. This phase will take 2 to 3 weeks to complete but may also extend for 6 weeks in some cases. The number of weeks this growth stage may take will be different from strain to strain, and due to some environmental factors. 

In handling the seedlings with care, keep an eye on the temperature and maintain it at around 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Check the humidity level as well, and be sure it stays at around 60%. It should be 18 hours of light and 6 days of darkness. Nourish your growing plants with a fertilizer enriched with nitrogen. 

Stage 3: Vegetative Stage

This period takes 3 to 8 weeks. By this time, you have to transfer the plants to bigger pots. Your plants will grow faster as they absorb more carbon dioxide and nutrients. They need those things to grow more leaves and mature very quickly.

In this phase, expect your plants to grow vertically. They may grow taller if they are sativa strains. If they are indica plants, then the available space should be wider. From here, you can already tell what your plants are as they’ll start to show some distinct characteristics. 

Sativa plants will grow narrower and taller. Indica plants will grow bushy and short with thick foliage. Therefore, make sure they grow room is tall if you grow sativa plants or wide for indica plants. The tip of the vegetative phase gives a good chance to spot any male plants. 

As the plants grow continuously and leave this phase, the females should start to develop 2 white pistils while males will have pollen sacs. If you find these sacs, immediately eliminate the plant to prevent it from ruining your future harvest. 

During this stage, you have to maintain the temperature between 68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit while the humidity should be between 50 and 70 percent. Nitrogen is still very essential for plants in this stage, but you can increase the doses of other nutrients as well. As for the lighting, the plants should receive 16 to 24 hours of sunlight. 

Stage 4: Flowering Stage

This stage lasts for 6 to 8 weeks. It’s the final growth stage and is also the most important part of the life cycle. It can make or break the harvest time. There’s a way to encourage your cannabis plants to move into the flowering stage: reduce their exposure to lighting. Change the light and dark cycle to 12/12, which means they get 12 hours of lighting exposure and 12 hours of rest. 

Your cannabis plants flower as soon as they start to create the sticky resin that you will see on the leaves. Trichomes will also develop. Meaning, the cannabinoids on their plants develop properly. The potency level of your plants must rely on how long they flower. 

This time, maintain the temperature between 68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit and the humidity level at roughly 50%. Stop giving nitrogen but increase the doses for phosphorus and potassium. 


Each of marijuana plant stages brings some sort of fun and excitement to every cannabis grower. Likewise, each stage demands different things to support normal plant growth. Keep in mind all these things to ensure your plants will mature properly and be as productive as they can be. 

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